This paper analyses the pattern of gross population densities at the census tract level in Karachi in 1981. The basic negative exponential function of land density with respect to distance from CBD is ex tended in a number of ways to allow for the peculiar features of urban growth in Karachi. These features include land-use zoning near the CBD, spatial autocorrelation, high density slums in proximity to major employment centers and at the urban periphery, etc. Various econometric refinements are also introduced to remove any bias in estimation. The basic conclusion is that land density and its gradient is low in Karachi in relation to other major Third World cities. A number of explanations are offered for the extensive pattern of urban development. To the extent that this is sub-optimal, a number of suggestions are made for raising densities over time.

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